Monday, August 04, 2008


It's nice to see another truism about Obama debunked:

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama holds a 2 to 1 edge over Republican Sen. John McCain among the nation's low-wage workers....

Obama's advantage is attributable largely to overwhelming support from two traditional Democratic constituencies: African Americans and Hispanics. But even among white workers -- a group of voters that has been targeted by both parties as a key to victory in November -- Obama leads McCain by 10 percentage points, 47 percent to 37 percent, and has the advantage as the more empathetic candidate....

(Emphasis mine.)

But what about Hillary Clinton's advantage over Obama in blue-collar areas? Well, maybe this explains it:

The new poll included interviews with 1,350 randomly selected workers 18 to 64 years old who put in at least 30 hours a week but earned $27,000 or less last year.

This poll doesn't survey people from working-class areas. This poll surveys lower-wage people who are actually of (traditional) working age. Obama may still have somewhat of a problem in working-class enclaves, but it's likely that that problem is with older workers and retirees, not people in the midst of their working years.

Notice something about the crowd at Bronko's, the Indiana workingman's bar where Hillary famously downed her beer-and-a-shot?

The suit-wearers are local pols, Clinton campaign staff, and Secret Service. The non-suit-wearers? They're the locals -- and there aren't a lot of young people in that crowd.

We know Obama's having some trouble with older voters in general. In the most recent Quinnipiac swing-state poll, he leads Florida by 2 overall, but trails by 10 among respondents 55 and over; in Ohio, it's another 2-point lead overall, but a 7-point deficit among older respondents; in Pennsylvania, he's +7 overall, but tied among older respondents.

The very good, myth-busting news is that there's nothing inherent about the combination of low melanin and callused hands that turns people off to Obama -- younger low-wage workers actually seem quite persuadable. Obama's challenge is to get younger blue-collar people to vote at a high enough rate to offset the wariness (and, almost certainly, racial close-mindedness) of their elders, in a country where older people are traditionally more eager voters.

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